Medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. However, medical detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug use. Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment.
Drug Abuse And Addiction
Our Drug addiction treatment programs begin detoxification,the process of eliminating chemical dependency by removing of addictive substances. For most addicts especially long-term addicts or those with cases of severe addiction, detox is accompanied by withdrawal symptoms, the physical side effects that occur when a person suddenly reduces or discontinues drug use. Withdrawal symptoms can last a few days to a few weeks and range in severity from mildly uncomfortable to life threatening, depending on the duration and severity of addiction.
The Acute Stage Of Withdrawal
Withdrawal from drug addiction occurs in two stages. The first, the acute stage, typically lasts for about 2 weeks and involves the following physical and psychological symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle and bone pain
- Tightness in the chest
- Weight loss due to loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing or racing heart
- Cold flashes
- Depression (occasionally combined with suicidal thoughts or hopelessness)
- Social isolation
- Poor concentration
- Cravings (preoccupation with obtaining drugs)
Symptoms associated with detox from tranquilizers.
Occasionally, more severe withdrawal symptoms can occur after abrupt, unassisted drug cessation, especially when the addict is detoxing from tranquilizers. These complications include:
- Delirium tremens
- Heart attacks
The post-acute phase and post acute withdrawal syndrome.
For many, the most difficult stage of withdrawal occurs during the post-acute phase. Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is likely to occur during this stage. The symptoms of PAWS can severely impact the recovery process. They include:
- Inability to process and organize thoughts
- Emotional instability or inability to feel emotions
- Memory problems
- Sleep disorders
- Lack of physical coordination
- Inability to cope with stress
The Importance Of Medically Assisted Drug Detox
Withdrawal can be quite painful for and potentially dangerous to patients—so much so that, sometimes, addicted persons attempt to treat symptoms with drugs of abuse. For these reasons and more, medically assisted detoxification is strongly recommended. Medical detoxification safely manages the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment.
Medically assisted detox can take place in outpatient and inpatient settings, but the latter is preferable (and often more successful) for several reasons. For starters, inpatient facilities are able to dedicate teams of specialists to care for the addict 24 hours a day. They’re well equipped to handle the various stages and symptoms of withdrawal and provide the added benefit of removing the addict from the environment in which he or she was abusing drugs. Lastly, detoxing in the inpatient setting affords addicts the opportunity to remain at the facility as they transition to the treatment stage of recovery. Fully completed inpatient programs have very high success rates.
Detox Is Just The Beginning
It is important for addicts and their families to remember that detoxification, while essential, is only the first step in an effective treatment plan. In fact, clients who do not begin a treatment program following detox are rarely able to overcome addiction. Nevertheless, with the right help and holistic, individualized treatment, there is hope.
If you or a loved one have a drinking problem and would like to receive more information about our alcohol rehab centers, call our 7 Day 24-hour Confidential Helpline at 888-382-1424.